Evans: Users would miss improvements from e-gov

ORLANDO, Fla. – If agencies had not implemented many of the e-government services that are now considered the norm, many federal users would have a more difficult time interacting with the government, said Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget’s administrator of e-government and information technology. E-government aims to get information and services to those who need to have it.

OMB has relied on transparency to drive progress in agencies’ transformation to e-government, she said.

“We’re trying to hold ourselves accountable in a very public way,” Evans said today at the Information Processing Interagency Conference (IPIC). When the public knows how and where their tax dollars are spent, they can act on that knowledge, she said, recounting some of the accomplishments of e-government.

Before e-government, it was challenging for individuals to access federal services, and it was more expensive for agencies to deliver them. E-government and lines of business have produced cost savings and easy access to federal services by making systems more standard, she said. Last year, the government saved $508 million because agencies participate in e-government and LOB initiatives, she said.

“If you have it quantified, it takes the discussion to a different level,” Evans said, adding that measurements and results eliminate some of the emotion in agency discussions to move to a governmentwide system.

For example, IRS’ Free File has let low-income and other eligible groups electronically file their taxes for free. During the 2007 filing season, Free File has saved IRS $9.1 million in the cost of processing returns. Other e-government initiatives, such as Grants.gov and GovBenefits.gov, have let users find what they’re looking for from a single location. All federal discrete grants and eligible grant packages are available through Grants.gov. And as of Jan. 1, all major agencies are participating in the e-Rulemaking initiative at Regulations.gov.

Many users would complain if these e-government services were no longer provided, such as low-income tax filers, social workers who navigate the federal benefits environment, higher-education researchers who apply for grants and jobseekers who search for positions on USAJobs.gov, Evans said.

Along with implementing governmentwide systems, agencies shut down 43 duplicative systems in 2007 and OMB expects 73 more will be shuttered this year, she said.

“You aren’t really modernized until you shut down the old system,” Evans said.

Evans also presented the IPIC 2008 awards for project management excellence by to these agencies for implementing these e-government and enterprise systems:

  • NASA Shared Services Center for cost savings and cost avoidance.

  • Office of Personnel Management’s Enterprise Human Resources Integration for cost savings and cost avoidance.

  • Interior Department’s National Business Center’s 104 Mainframe Efficiency Improvement Project for retooling the infrastructure.

  • Homeland Security Department’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ Enterprise Service Bus for service-oriented architecture.

  • General Services Administration’s Managed Service Offering USACCESS Program for digital trust and infrastructure security.

  • FBI’s Quick Capture Platform for identity management and biometrics.

  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ ATK Knowledge On Line for delivering mission services and practical innovations.

  • The Small Business Administration’s Business Gateway Initiative for delivering mission services and practical innovations.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.


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